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|Valentine(On Dublin Street #5.5)(19) by Samantha Young|
That all changed when Marco came back into my life.
I had a husband and children who needed me to be home at a decent hour.
I wanted to be.
The kids had left at the last bell an hour ago and it was time for me to get in my car and drive home to my husband who was waiting for me to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We hadn’t planned much, other than to ask Joss and Braden to babysit this year (it was their turn, Marco’s and my turn next year), so that Marco and I could just have some quiet time with one another.
I smiled smugly. Or not so quiet time. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
Laughing at myself, I wandered out into the hall.
Nish and Barbara, my friends and colleagues, were the chatterboxes out there. They turned to smile at me. “Off home so soon?” Nish said, grinning mischievously.
I shrugged. “It is Valentine’s Day.”
“As if we could forget,” Barbara said dryly, referring to the drama we’d had in school today.
“I still can’t believe Rochelle Muir ripped actual hair out of Stacy Abernathy’s head.” Nish winced.
“And over Michael Steel.” I shook my head in disgust. “I’ve caught that boy kissing too many girls to count.”
“Fourth years,” Nish and Barbara said in unison, making me laugh.
“Well I’m not a fourth year. I’m off for a quiet night in with the hubby. I suggest you do the same.” I winked at them and they laughed as I strolled down the hall.
“I would if my husband looked like yours!” Barbara yelled at my back.
I grinned and shot over my shoulder. “There’s more to him than just good looks. He’s very adept with his hands.”
“I hate you!” She yelled back.
Laughing I sauntered out of the hallway.
Outside it was a crisp, fresh afternoon that was just starting to grow dull. Sun would set in about an hour. I glanced up at the sky and willed the spring on. I was sick of the short days of winter.
As I turned my head back toward my car, I caught a glimpse of something, or should I say someone, out of the corner of my eye. I looked back at the school gate and my breath stuttered in my throat.
Standing with hands in pocket, leaning against the gate was my husband Marco.
Wonder moved through me and I slowly made my way toward him, my heart quickening in my chest at the sight of him.
Will this feeling ever leave me? That feeling of anticipation and joy I felt every time I saw him.
God I hoped not.
Marco took a step toward me, and my gaze travelled up his tall body. He was wearing his good black boots, dark jeans, a stylish double-breasted wool jacket and a plaid scarf I’d bought him for Christmas. There were blues and greens in the scarf, colors that set off the blue green of his eyes. I was caught in those stunning eyes. They were the first thing, after his immense height and build, that you noticed about Marco. They were such a striking contrast to the beautiful caramel of his skin, and so darkly lashed I was almost envious of them.
Seeing him standing at the gate, I had a sudden flashback to when we were younger and he would wait for me at the school gate to make sure I didn’t miss the bus. And if I did miss the bus he’d always walk me home.
“I wanted to make sure you got home safely,” he said, a small teasing smile curling his lips.
I grinned at his sudden nostalgia. “That was thoughtful of you.”
He held out his hands. “Car keys?”
Chuckling, I handed them over. Marco took them and then took my hand and started to lead me to my car. Once inside he had to adjust my seat so he could fit his long legs in. I was a tall woman, at five ten. Marco was about eight inches taller than me.
He started the car but instead of pulling out of the space he looked at me.
I smiled curiously at his serious expression. “What?”
“Back in school… I used to stand at that gate and pray you’d miss the bus so I could walk you home.”
Leaning across the gear stick I ran the back of my knuckles across his cheek and pressed a soft kiss to his mouth. When I pulled back I whispered, “Sometimes I deliberately missed the bus.”
Marco chuckled and I sat back in my seat to watch him handle my little car with ease. For such a big man he had a lot of grace.
We were quiet as he drove, a familiar silence falling between us. Although Marco had changed a lot from the scared, taciturn, brooding young boy he’d been when we first met, he still wasn’t the biggest talker. It was one of the things I loved about him. I could just sit with him in silence, and be perfectly comfortable and at peace.
I frowned as I realized he’d driven us off course from our destination of Morningside, a quieter area south of the city center, where we’d bought a house we could just barely afford. We’d bought the house because we loved it but also to be closer to Dylan. Dylan was my stepson. Marco had him with his ex-girlfriend Leah a little over seven years ago. She and her husband Graham lived in Morningside and it was easier on Dylan for us to be so close to them.
“Sophia and Jarrod are with Joss and Braden,” Marco suddenly said. “I dropped them off earlier.”
I felt a little pang in my chest. Our son Jarrod was only six months old and our daughter Sophia was only two and a half. I found it difficult to be separated from them and reminded myself that it was only for a few hours.
“So where are we going?”
He shot me a quick, mischievous grin that made me smile in return. “You’ll see.”
I waited patiently, but filled with anticipation as he drove us to Stockbridge and parked near Dean Village. “It’ll cost a fortune to stay parked here,” I said as he unbuckled his seatbelt.
“It’s worth it.” He flashed me that grin again and I shook my head laughing as I got out of the car.
As soon as my door was closed behind me, Marco grabbed my hand in his and started leading me down the street. A sense of familiarity quickly descended over me and when we stopped at the entrance to Douglas Gardens, a small public garden we’d visited once before, I looked up at my husband in question.
“Do over,” he said.
He couldn’t possibly mean what I thought he meant.
Tugging me gently inside we found the gardens empty. Near the back of the gardens, next to a bench I’d sat on with Marco one very memorable night when we were kids, was Marco’s aunt Gabby. I watched wide-eyed as she turned from placing a napkin on the picnic she’d set up on the ground. Fairy lights were wrapped around the bench and around potted piece of topiary that looked out of place and thus suggested had been brought to the spot specifically for this.